The UN says that it is “alarmed” by the dramatically increasing flow of refugees from Blue Nile into South Sudan. António Guterres, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said that:
Not only are refugee numbers suddenly much higher, but the condition that many of these people are in is shockingly bad. Some have been eating tree leaves to survive along the way…Despite the rain, this is an area where there’s simply not enough safe drinking water; This, and the security situation, makes it all the more urgent that people are relocated fast to better protected places.
With the world’s attention focused on the talks between Sudan and South Sudan, in recent days, Sudan has expelled NGOs from eastern Sudan, has worsened the situation in Darfur (see a village burned down and acting to worsen the medical situation in Zam Zam camp), and continues to threaten the populations of South Kordofan and Blue Nile where the famine is worsening with each passing day.
Sudan’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) has ordered the seven aid groups working in eastern Sudan in the states of Kassala, Red Sea, and Gadaref to suspend their work. HAC’s primary job is to protect the regime from criticism. It is not primarily interested in helping to fix the problems caused by the overwhelming centralization of power and resources by the Khartoum Regime or allowing to be fixed by anyone else.
As the humanitarian organizations are working to remedy problems largely caused by the Khartoum Regime or whose remedies are impeded by the Khartoum Regime, it would not be surprising that they would point out the inadequacies of the Khartoum Regime in their work and potentially to recommend changes.
What all of the “marginalized” peoples of Sudan and South Sudan need to understand is that the cause of their problems is ultimately the same, the Khartoum Regime does not care about them and will not allow their lives to improve substantially at the expense of the Khartoum Regime if it can at all be avoided.
Sudan is accusing South Sudan of supporting the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army-North in South Kordofan and the Justice and Equality Movement in southern Darfur. This was obviously going to be the strategy of the government of Sudan when the UNSC made the absence of support part of the proposal. I wrote about this issue for Help Nuba on May 1st. I wrote at that time that:
As for ceasing to harbor or support rebel groups, it will be impossible to confirm compliance. If these groups continue to act on their own, the appropriate governments will be accused of supporting them regardless of whether or not they actually offer material or any other type of support. In addition, remember that the rebel groups in the south of Sudan are fighting for freedom against a genocidal government. The UN as an organization is supposed to support democracy. Yes, I know that this is farcical at this point, but to have an official policy that mandates that people combating genocide are not to be supported is at best wrong and at worst cruel and inhumane.
Nothing has changed in three weeks. Sudan is still trying to slaughter the people of South Kordofan and they are still fighting against the Khartoum regime. Neither side seems like it is going to stop anytime soon.
Posted in African Union, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, South Sudan, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, SRF, Starvation, Sudan, United Nations, United States, UNSC
Thabo Mbeki of the African Union met with South Sudan President Salva Kiir to discuss arranging negotiations with Sudan. South Sudan’s response, “Sure, let’s meet.” Sudan’s response, “No, give us what we want to achieve in the negotiations as preconditions for negotiations and then we’ll negotiate.” You can read more about the meeting between Mbeki and Kiir here.
In other news, the United States has donated $30 million to the UN World Food Program to address food insecurity in South Sudan. The donation will be delivered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). While we have discussed the need to get food aid into the Nuba Mountains before the rainy season hits, there is also a major need to get aid to many regions within South Sudan. According to USAID’s press release:
Due to South Sudan’s poor road network, about 60 percent of the country will become inaccessible during the rainy season. This contribution helps WFP complete prepositioning of much-needed commodities across South Sudan, where roads will soon become impassable.
Meanwhile, Sudan and the UN have grossly differing estimates for the number of refugees from Sudan who are currently in neighboring countries. Sudan’s estimates are less than half of those of the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Regardless, hundreds of thousands of Sudanese now reside in neighboring countries because of the inhuman conduct of the Khartoum regime in Darfur, South Kordofan, and Blue Nile, while hundreds of thousands more are internally displaced. Remember that the several hundred thousands Christian former citizens of Sudan have become “South Sudanese” in the eyes of the Khartoum government and are being pressured to leave. In addition, many thousands more in the border region of South Sudan have also been displaced because of Khartoum’s cross border bombing campaign and cross border raids.
Posted in African Union, Blue Nile, Christians in Sudan, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Juba, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, Omar Bashir, Salva Kiir, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, Starvation, Sudan, United Nations, United States, UNSC
Sudan has raided and closed the offices of the Sudan Council of Churches in Nyala along with Sudan Aid without giving any notice, according to a report from Compass Direct News. Three employees of Sudan aid were arrested. National Intelligence and Security Services also shuttered a church that was caring for the needy in the area.
Posted in Christians in Sudan, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Khartoum, Omar Bashir, South Sudan, SPLA, SRF, Sudan, United Nations, UNSC
The President of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, explained that South Sudan has been fighting against the expansion of Islamization, the combination of Islamic religious views and the enforcement of them using political and military force. Kiir stated in his Sudanese People’s Liberation Army Day speech that:
The government in Khartoum once said we are the obstacle and if they can defeat us they will expand Islamization and Arabization up to South Africa.
What is “Arabization?” In this context, Arabization is the enforcement of Arab Islamic societal and cultural norms while subjugating African ones as inferior and to be abolished. In Darfur, it was Arabization which was opposed by much of the African Muslim population that led to genocide of the African Muslim population there by Arabists. I say “Arabists” because in Darfur, these were racial Africans, not racial Arabs, who were enforcing Arabization under the penalty of death.
In the Nuba Mountains, the government is attempting both to promote Islamization and Arabization against the African Muslims there while forcing the cultural African Muslims and all of the Christians to flee or die. The SPLM-North is defending them against the Sudanese government while ultimately seeking to create a government that would allow for religious freedom.
Though not speaking about the events in South Kordofan, but about South Sudan, the Sudan Tribune notes that:
Kiir explained that the SPLM manifesto calls for a secular state where “no religion is better than the other” and “no region and tribe should be better than the other” because “religion belongs to God” and the “land belongs to the general population.”
Below you will find videos of the Salva Kiir’s SPLA Day speech which was delivered in Arabic.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir speaking on SPLA Day 2012
Posted in Blue Nile, Christians in Sudan, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Juba, Nuba Mountains, Salva Kiir, South Sudan, SPLA, SPLA-N, SPLM, SPLM-N, SRF, Starvation, Sudan
Sudan has accepted “with reservations” the UNSC resolution seeking an end to hostilities between Sudan and South Sudan. The resolution also requires Sudan to negotiate with the SPLM-North in South Kordofan and Blue Nile regions. The Sudanese parliament rejected the use of the term “disputed” to refer to those territories and others which South Sudan also claims.
Sudan’s Foreign Minister, Ali Karti, seemed to take issue with Omar Bashir’s rhetoric of late, proposing that Bashir’s confrontational language makes South Sudan “appear” to be the victim. The Foreign Minister noted that:
The talk that they [SPLM leaders] are a group that only understands the stick was interpreted to be referring to the poem of [Abu El-Tayib] El-Mutanabi that says “you shall not buy a slave without a stick” and the term insect was likened to the use of the term cockroaches by the Hutu against the Tutsi during the Rwandan massacres.
The Sudan Tribune adds that:
Karti cautioned that Africa was still reeling from “an inferiority complex” that makes its leaders prone to interpreting any statement within certain contexts even if it was well-intentioned.
I am trying to figure out how these terms could be “well-intentioned” coming from a man wanted by the ICC for genocide in Darfur while hearing them in the context of attempted genocide in the Nuba Mountains. Seems to me that it is fairly clear that Bashir’s rhetoric is appropriate for his aim and that the world needs to see Bashir for what he is, a wanted war criminal seeking unashamedly to commit more war crimes.
Posted in Abyei, Blue Nile, Darfur, Ethnic Cleansing, Genocide, Heglig, Juba, Khartoum, Nuba Mountains, Omar Bashir, SPLA-N, SPLM-N, SRF, Sudan, United Nations, UNSC